I have so many things to say on the topic of body image that this will likely be the first post of many on the subject. This isn't just a fat problem, it's an everyone problem. Negative self image can affect men & women, young & old, fat & thin. I really don't know if ANYONE truly has a 100% accurate grip on it: that what they look like to others is exactly what they look like in their own head.
Judgment from others is harsh. Self-judgment is far more damaging though. We all judge ourselves on our appearance (in addition to a million other factors we judge ourselves and others on). Can you image what it would feel like to just not care at all? Would it result in true freedom or true alienation? Not sure if we will ever know.
I could pontificate forever on this, but back to the real reason for this post. When I went on vacation with hubs' family, I made a conscious effort to not be in any pictures. True protectionism at its worst- I didn't want to have to face seeing myself in the camera. I love taking candid photos of others, freezing moments in time. For this vacation though, it's almost as I chose to cut myself and my memories out. I focused on taking pictures of things, and trying to run away from the camera when I saw other people with one out. I know my weight. I know typically what I look like at this weight. I don't like it. No one would deep down on the inside. It's an often sad and alienating place to be… trapped in a shell that doesn't truly represent the personality and zest of the soul encapsulated. If I can avoid being captured on film (or SD card), then perhaps this nightmare might dissolve and I can focus on looking forward instead of looking back.
I allowed myself to be in 1 picture from my camera, and it wasn't as awful as I had feared. Unbeknown to me, however, another lens captured me several times. I opened up the link to the pictures one of the family members took and as soon as I got to set 2, my face dropped and tears rolled down my face.
THAT CAN'T BE ME.
OH MY GOD.
WHAT DID OTHERS THINK ABOUT ME ON THIS DAY LOOKING LIKE THIS?
HOW CAN I EMBARRASS MY IN-LAWS BY LOOKING LIKE THAT?
HOW CAN MY HUSBAND LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY LIKE THIS?
HOW CAN I LOVE MYSELF LIKE THIS?
Yet, I do love myself.
I look into the mirror and I don't see the image that is reflected back from the lens of the camera. Why is that? Is it that I've conditioned myself after 28 years to be able to magically mind-Photoshop my reflection in the mirror so that I am satisfied enough to walk out of the house every day? Is it a coping mechanism that I've developed? I look in the mirror and don't see the huge person that the camera, and inevitably others, sees. Is it an overinflated ego? Is it because I know I like the way I look when I'm thinner and I only choose to see that person reflected in the mirror? Is seeing myself like this the only way I know how to not hate myself? Or is it something else entirely?
I have no idea.
I know my avoidance to cameras does nothing to help record the journey that I am on. How can you measure progress without knowing where you came from? How do you appreciate the work and payoff if there is no evidence of a starting point?
So, today I took “before” pictures. I have similar ones last time I started a journey like this, but today was different. I knew that it would be the last set of “before” pictures I will take at this weight. And because of that, I am excited.